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Gambardella's Minestrone Soup


  • 1/2 cup dry cannellini or Great Northern beans
  • 1/2 cup dry red kidney beans
  • 1/2 cup dry garbanzo beans
  • 1/2 cup dry lentils
  • 1/4 cup dry split peas
  • 1 small white potato, peeled and diced
  • 4 or 5 cups chicken or beef broth
  • 2 (16 ounce) packages frozen Italian vegetables
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and chopped
  • 3 large stalks celery, diced
  • 1 medium bulb fennel, chopped
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1/4 cup parsley stems, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 1 tablespoon coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup fresh ripe tomatoes, diced, or peeled and diced canned tomatoes
  • Cooked pasta or rice


  1. Soak the cannellini, kidney and garbanzo beans, lentils and peas in lots of water to cover overnight. The next day, cook in 3 cups water 20 minutes; skim the foam from the top. Do not drain.
  2. Simmer the potatoes in 1 cup broth 15 minutes; set aside. (Do not drain either preparation.)
  3. In a heavy-bottom 8-quart pot heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, bell pepper, celery and fennel; sauté until the onions are golden. Add the basil, oregano, parsley, rosemary, fennel seeds, salt and pepper; add simmered beans, undrained potato and vegetables, and tomatoes. Simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Add a little more broth if needed.
  4. Serve over pasta or rice.